Samantha Elise Elliott, that is my name. It's a beautiful name, in my humble (okay, maybe not-so-humble) opinion. It has been my name for well over 22 years now, and the only nickname I ever really go by is Sam, much to my chagrin (but that's a post for another day).
My point is that at no point have I ever gone by any other name (though I'm sure I'd smell as sweet), especially not, say, Stephanie. Not, of course, that there is anything wrong with the name Stephanie; it too is a beautiful name. But, it's taken by my sister, and as such, when I am called Stephanie, it brings back memories of being a very frustrated little girl who couldn't understand why her family couldn't seem to remember that she was Samantha.
Finally, I think I have the answer. It has presented itself to me before, and I noticed it then, but I never really put two and two together. Four, the answer is four.
You see, I always assumed that the mix up was caused by the fact that my sister and I are close in age, looked similar when we were younger, and both had an uncanny talent for driving people nuts. Then, when I was nine, I went to Disneyland with my father et al. On the plane to California, the six of us were forced to be seated separately. I was seated next to a very nice, older woman named Rose (yes, I still remember her), who was on her way to visit her recently-born grandson for the first time. Anyway, during our flight, we chatted quite a bit, and when she was exiting the plane in San Diego, she said, "It was nice meeting you, Stephanie. Have a good trip." I was amazed; it was the first time that I had ever noticed (though I'm sure it had happened before) anyone calling me by my sister's name, and she didn't know I had a sister called Stephanie!
As the years wore on, the same scenario would replay itself, and I always remembered Rose and that flight, but I never thought much about it beyond alternating between amused and perplexed. And then, in the past week, I have been called Stephanie three times by three different people - none of whom know that my sister exists, let alone her name.
Two of the three of those people had seen my name in print several times in the form of correspondence and my resume, and still, they got it wrong. As I was thinking back on Rose, again, and remembering other instances when it has happened, I realized that there was most assuredly a correlation between the reason that strangers remember Samantha as Stephanie and the reason that my family did - probably the same reason that my mother chose those two names as the names of her daughters.
Thus, I have come to the conclusion that I should just get used to it, because (for no apparent reason) Samantha and Stephanie go together like peas and carrots, and biscuits and gravy, and...why are all of my analogies about food? I think it's time for dinner.